Shoals Technologies Group Inc. has filed a patent infringement complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Hikam America Inc. and Voltage LLC, alleging that the companies engaged in unlawful imports of photovoltaic components that infringe on two patents owned by Shoals relating to improved connectors for solar arrays.
“Shoals has invested millions of dollars over our 27-year history to develop innovative products and technologies to reduce installation costs and improve reliability and safety for the utility scale solar, storage and EV charging markets,” says Jeff Tolnar, interim CEO and president of Shoals. “While we welcome healthy competition – especially that which betters the industry – we take our patents very seriously and will defend them vigorously to protect our intellectual property.
“As a U.S.-based company with design and manufacturing in Tennessee, Alabama and California, we hope the ITC will protect our IP and support domestic manufacturing and job creation by banning the import of what we believe are infringing products from entering the U.S. market,” he adds.
Shoals is requesting that the ITC institute an investigation into the alleged infringement under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 to bar the importation of the alleged infringing products. The complaint requests that the ITC issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order against Hikam, Voltage and related entities to bar the importation of devices, components and products that are alleged to infringe Shoals’ patents.
Invented and manufactured in the United States, Shoals’ patented Big Lead Assembly (BLA) connectors and wire harnesses with in-line fuses are designed to reduce or eliminate the need for combiner boxes, which reduces the amount of wire and other materials needed. The patented connectors are less expensive to manufacture and transport than alternatives, are easy to use and permit a more simplified component configuration in the solar field, Shoals says.